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Reflection-Action Presentation - Jan 2015

An introduction to ActionAid's integrated participatory methodology

Emma Pearce

on 12 January 2015

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Transcript of Reflection-Action Presentation - Jan 2015

Participatory tools

education as liberating not domesticating
recognising people's existing knowledge
reading the world as well as the word
questioning the status quo - change is possible
use of visual tools
all community members able to participate
rooting development at local level
respect for local knowledge
BUT - can be merely extractive
R-A circle
R-A circle
R-A circle
R-A circle
R-A circle
R-A circle
R-A circle
District level R-A
District level R-A
National & International
A skilled facilitator is essential to the process
from the local community
accepted by circle members
appropriate level of education
willing to learn
power and gender aware
prepared to give time and energy
feels valued and supported
At local level groups come together for:
common capacity building
sharing of analysis
common actions
exchange visits
joint celebrations
Federation of R-A voices
Bring grassroots voices to national level
Engage with coalitions with a common agenda
Engage with the media
Engage with knowledge hubs
Produce resources to guide & enrich local analysis
Build capacity – trainers of trainers / experts
Make this an R-A space in itself
Initial circle:
May be a new or existing group
Meets at least once or twice a week
Runs for 2-3 years
Focus on empowerment
Building capacity, literacy skills, etc.
Follow-on phase:
Continued AA support over a period of years
Group may become a CBO or people's organisation but only if appropriate
Focus on solidarity & campaigning, though still empowerment.
Federation of R-A circles by identity/ interest / geography
District facilitators forum.
Strong focus on accountability and budgets
Specialised training
Separate but linked process with district-level actors
Paulo Freire
Participatory rural appraisal (PRA)
The Reflect approach to adult learning and social change was piloted by ActionAid and partner organisations in Bangladesh, Uganda and El Salvador in the early 1990s. It brought together the theories of Paulo Freire with PRA methods.
A brief history of participatory methodologies in ActionAid
During the 1990s and 2000s there was a proliferation of participatory methodologies as they were adapted to different contexts and purposes. In 2006, 14 different methodologies were reported in ActionAid alone. While each has its strengths, they draw on the same philosophies and tools. By using separate names we have tended to fragment peoples’ analysis, even to the extent of organising separate groups in a single community.
People's Action to End Poverty, ActionAid's Strategy 2012-2017
The People's Action strategy calls for "the harmonisation of participatory methodologies".
Practitioners and trainers previously linked to different approaches are urged to work together under a unifying Reflection-Action approach, drawing on the best from all the existing methodologies.
Core principles
Organising and mobilising - linking across levels
Visual tools
Rivers - to record events and explore
changes over a period of time.
Trees - to analyse cause
and effect.
Maps - to understand
our context.
Matrices - for analysis, to rank or prioritise.
Tools for evaluation - "how
much did you learn...".
New tools are constantly
being innovated.
Songs, dance and drama
- participatory methodologies
in ActionAid

Participatory communications
- video, radio etc.
The core principles of Reflection-Action are the same as ActionAid's 8 HRBA principles, which are outlined in 'People's Action in Practice':

1. We put people living in poverty first and enable their
active agency as rights activists.
2. We analyse and confront unequal power.
3. We advance the rights of women and girls.
4. We work in partnership.
5. We are accountable and transparent.
6. We rigorously monitor and evaluate to evidence our impact.
7. We ensure links across levels - local, national, regional
and international to ensure we are addressing structural causes of poverty.
8. We are innovative, solutions-oriented and promote credible, sustainable alternatives.
Decide what to do (strategy development)
Reflect on the action taken
Participatory M&E
R-A cycle: Understand the context
7 areas of analysis:
women's rights
actors & institutions
risks & feasibility
R-A cycle: Act
R-A cycle:
R-A cycle: Review
In collaboration with TCDC we developen an online learning package for Reflection-Action. It is now available in English, French and Spanish:

Online learning
International training of trainers workshops were held in Uganda in July 2013 and in Nepal in May 2014 involving participants from across Africa and Asia.

Participants at the initial workshop have since carried out training in their own countries.

They have also joined a roster, making themselves available to support training in other countries or at regional level, for example the Southern Africa training workshop held in November 2013 and the West Africa workshop in March 2014.

Curriculum development
A participatory curriculum development process was completed for the following topics:
The foundations of Reflection-Action
The Reflection-Action cycle
Delivering Reflection-Action across levels

Resource materials were developed to accompany each of the training modules. All of these materials have been translated into French, Spanish and Portuguese.

A 4-day harmonisation workshop was held in October 2012. Participants worked together to agree the key concepts of the Reflection-Action process and to outline a detailed timetable for curriculum design, capacity development and piloting of Reflection-Action for 2013.
Harmonisation workshop
A steering group was set up with representatives from the ActionAid International Secretariat and countries, all experienced practitioners of participatory methodologies.

The group included key champions of different methodologies including: Reflect, ELBAG, STAR, PVA and Gender and RBA.

What did we do?
An online forum was created, linking over 200 practitioners of participatory methods in ActionAid and partner organisations.
Online forum – Basecamp
Steering group
Full transcript